Ever since Apple’s Siri demonstrated its mighty power in communicating with human being – in all honesty, Siri must’ve got bored at listening to a string of tedious even stupid jokes told by its master – and solving people’s problems, app market has been seeing a lot of clones surfacing to ride the trend, like Google Now in America or the likes of Baidu/Sogou/360 voice assistants and iFly Yudian, the one we reported last year.
Basically, they all function much the same way that Siri does, by speaking to your phone equipped with anyone of those aforementioned voice assistants, you can tell your phone to search online, return weather forecasts, dial or text someone, look for restaurants nearby and so on.
And if we define the outbreak of Siri-like services as the first stage of voice app developments in China, then apparently we’re now witnessing the second stage of the developments as more and more versatile voice-related apps emerging upon the scene with varied aims.
For example, the karaoke app “Changba” made an overnight success upon launching in App Store. Papa, the voice-based instagram also won its way into smartphone users’ heart. These two are the shinning stars in 2012 when there were almost no new things under the sun.
In addition to these, many other interesting ideas leveraging on the power of human speech and smartphone’s microphone are also taking shape, but how rosy this field could be in the future? Are the new comers just felt the hype and then jumped into the arena without giving too much thought to the sustainability of the business? Why the urge to do it quick so much more important than the desire to do it right?
It’s still not clear where these voice apps are heading towards, how to make money off them and can they keep the current momentum in adding new users and engaging a mobile community. Most of voice apps like PaPa position themselves as entertaining app, with similar features and operating model. Obviously, it’s also hard to avoid homogenization in a crowded area. A venture capitalist also expressed his concern over the current heat as he’s not quite so sure if voice-related app could be engaging enough to turn itself into a must-have social app.
Jack Xu, founder and CEO of Diandian and investor of Papa also admitted the use scenarios of voice-apped is very restricted, this could be a big problem for such services to become commonplace.
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